In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, we took to the Internet to find some words of wisdom from the legendary leader. Now more than ever we long to feel encouraged and hopeful, and we want to be reminded of the lasting impact of treating one another with kindness and respect.
Take a look at some of the quotes that resonated with us, and share your favorite MLK words of wisdom in the comments section below — we would love to read them.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
When we feel tested or challenged, it can be easy to lash out, respond emotionally, or say the first thing that rises up within us without considering the consequences our words might have on others. This quote serves as a reminder of how to conduct ourselves when stress is high. It is not difficult to behave well when things are going smoothly; it is when things turn turbulent that we show our true colors. We should conduct ourselves with love and grace, creating safe spaces for conversation, contemplation, and community.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
This beautiful, poignant reminder really hit home with us. Life won’t always pan out perfectly; there will always be obstacles to overcome and battles to fight. But in the midst of difficult times, we can always find joy and greatness through service. There is no criteria needed to serve our loved ones, our neighbors, and our community — we simply need to lace up our boots and get to work.
We’ve noticed, too, that serving others isn’t just helpful to them; it’s helpful to us as well because it provides us with the perspective and the opportunity we need to practice gratitude for the lives we lead.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor political nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”
In today’s social and political climate, this quote resonates with us in a powerful way. In the media-driven society that we live in, this quote is a reminder that we need to strip ourselves of some of the influences that surround us, especially those that impact us negatively, and really get back to basics by striving to identify and meditate on the core values that dictate the way we live our lives. We have to decide for ourselves what we believe in and what we think is right, and then we need to remain steadfast in our convictions. We are called to communicate our thoughts with grace, dignifying the thoughts and positions of others by treating them kindly and engaging in authentic discourse.
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
This quote is our favorite of the bunch. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw to the core of the issue he was facing in the fight for civil rights — he realized that the race issues he was confronting were ultimately a result of fear and lack of communication between groups of people. This theme continues to manifest itself in a million ways throughout the world on a daily basis, and MLK’s words struck a chord with us, reminding us to be better stewards of our words and our time.
We need to prioritize community in order to know and love one another better. We can eliminate fear by simply spending time getting to know one another in more genuine ways, by connecting offline to learn more about one another and rid our minds of the fears, stereotypes, or assumptions that might have existed previously.
Which of these quotes resonates most strongly with you?
Feature Image via Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images